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When you put a lot of effort into a job interview..

81 replies

GirlOnATrainToShite · 17/07/2017 18:30

And you get there and totally feel like there is an internal candidate who has been primed and lined up for it?

Went for public sector job today and there were 6 candidates, including myself, one of them the leaving persons deputy.

Very cagey about being "internal" to the point they pretended they didn't know their way round on the tour of the building and when approached by a staff member ushered them away.

We were asked to give a presentation which she would have had a massive advantage in knowing what they were looking for (I emailed in advance and got as much info as possible and it's a job I am already doing).

One of the interview panel gave us a speech at the beginning of the day saying if you are offering this this and this then this is not the right job for you - which internal candidate would have known!

Clearly I was not successful and neither were two others (one told she was too inexperienced- so why did they interview her?!) so this could be sour grapes but AIBU to think this is unfair and a bloody waste of my time and energy and new bloody dress

And bets on that she got it.

Is this ok?

Over 60 applicants.

OP posts:
CazY777 · 17/07/2017 21:30

I've just been through this. Applied for a civil service job in April, 24 jobs going in a subject area I know well but hadn't done the actual job but more than capable. It took weeks to find out if I had an interview, interview was end of June. I thought the interview went really well, but then they let it slip that there had been a recruitment freeze so they'd employed temps, who had obviously applied for the jobs and then they said 'Its possible we might have to let some of them go'. Said I'd hear the outcome first or second week in July. Took 2 weeks for them to tell me I hadn't got the job. What a bloody waste of time.

tiredbutFINE · 17/07/2017 21:33

I can't stand managers who feel the need to nervier 6 people for one post. They should be selecting the top 3 from the applications.

colouringbook · 17/07/2017 21:36

I feel your pain. I once applied for a job in prestigious, internationally renowned gallery. I passed the other interviewee on my way out after my interview. He was an internal candidate who received a welcoming hug from the interviewer with whom he was on first name terms. 'Let's just get this done' said the interviewer. Of course I didn't get the job. Huge waste of my time, effort and money but hey, who cares, just as long as they can tick all their boxes.

PetyrBaelish · 17/07/2017 21:47

Oh I know what you mean my DP had that looking for jobs in universities a few times, and he had spent so long preparing! Similarly earlier in the year I went for an interview at a school (I am a teacher) where there were 9 candidates, almost all of them going for their first or near first year. Throughout the day I got the strong impression (later confirmed by who they hired) that they were after a very experienced teacher, which hadn't been specified in the job spec. It's no joke when they ask for a sample class, an interview, a presentation blah blah blah - they must waste at least a working week of already busy and well qualified people's time!

AnneElliott · 17/07/2017 21:57

I always ask if there's someone currently doing the job, and if so, I don't bother applying.

It's shit though to waste everyone's time.

BouncyHedgehog · 17/07/2017 22:05

If they want someone they already employ, why can they not just promote them? It's such a pointless exercise.

MargaretCavendish · 17/07/2017 22:09

Really surprised at all the people talking about the advantage internals have in academia. Maybe it's my field, or a limited and odd sample, but in my experience internals fare very badly in academic job competitions. They tend to go for the new and shiny.

topcat2014 · 17/07/2017 22:14

I never understand why the public sector feels the need to advertise 'internal' jobs, probably just due to some notion of fairness.

If I found out that there were internal 'candidates' I wouldn't bother applying.

windygallows · 17/07/2017 22:32

Topcat, where I work it is policy to advertise EVERY job and while it's possible to advertise internal only advertising to external and internal is considered more fair. It's ridiculous. We spend a fortune and a huge amount of time recruiting for short term And maternity cover posts that we could easily fill internally.

HR always worried about complaints and grievances so believe this process shields them from it.

bakedbeansandtuna · 17/07/2017 23:13

I've been reading on with interest. Often jobs have a section for informal enquiries...

Would it be appropriate to take the bull by the horns and ask if the position was going internally?

I'm referring to academia where this sort of thing is very common. And applying takes much advance prep.

Thank you 😊

Loopytiles · 17/07/2017 23:18

These things happen, but you sound negative in general. If you got an interview you did a good application,m: you can get more interviews and get a new job.

Constructive dismissal is very hard to prove. Best stay where you are til you get something.

Wasn't at all U for the panel to tell one candidate she didn't have the right experience: sometimes these things become much clearer at interview; or they gave her a shot but other candidates were better qualified.

GirlOnATrainToShite · 18/07/2017 05:08

This was in a school.

Yes I may sound negative - I am in a bloody shit situation!

OP posts:
GirlcalledJames · 18/07/2017 05:51

The best interview I ever had was for a job that was earmarked for an internal candidate. I didn't get it, but they called me three days later and offered me a much better job than the one I had applied for. So I think it's always worth having a go.

PetalMettle · 18/07/2017 06:10

I've got an interview tomorrow for a public sector job, which an internal is currently covering, not holding out much hope.
In a similar situation to you OP, so sending you sympathy.
Recently I applied for a private sector job who im signed up to email alerts from. Applications closed on the Friday at 5. On the Saturday morning I was emailed about the job that reported into the one I'd applied for. Checked LinkedIn and the girl who'd been doing that was already down under her new position.
I don't know if they even bothered reading the cover letter.
Last time I recruited though we had an internal apply and offered it to an external first - turned out she was just using the offer to leverage a promotion at her current employer

cooliebrown · 18/07/2017 07:26

back in another life when I was doing hiring and firing I would always tell candidates who rang for the informal discussion thing that they were likely up against a strong internal candidate (if that was the case). I would much have preferred to develop existing staff for more senior roles but our (public sector) policy was that all vacancies had to be advertised externally. So, always ring for the informal discussion, might save you a waste of your time...

Loopytiles · 18/07/2017 07:29

I have been in shit situations at work too. You did well to get an interview so are obviously doing good applications and have a good CV. If you keep plugging away at job seeking, and have things in the pipeline as well as preparing for the next interview, chances are you will get a job. As PPs say sometimes not being selected can still lead to a job offer.

Littlechip · 18/07/2017 07:42

It is very possible to nab the job from the internal shoo-in candidate, take it from me. Not that I'm bitter or anything.
Always go along and be positive, you never know what might happen.

AtHomeDadGlos · 18/07/2017 08:00

My wife just got a job in a school where there was an internal candidate. Sometimes it depends on who is better for the job.

MargaretCavendish · 18/07/2017 08:45

Would it be appropriate to take the bull by the horns and ask if the position was going internally?

I'm referring to academia where this sort of thing is very common. And applying takes much advance prep

I'd say absolutely not. I think it's quite unlikely they'd tell you if there was a candidate that they already had in mind. And what exactly constitutes an internal candidate in academia? There might not be someone currently working there, but one of their much-loved former PhD students might apply. Is that an internal candidate? What about someone who doesn't work there at all but who the head of department once collaborated with and thinks is great?

So I don't think 'is there an internal' gets you that far (and, again, I think you'll get a bland 'we will be treating all candidates equally' or 'we can't predict in advance who will apply for this job' or similar if you ask). I've also seen the internal not get the job a lot in academia (sometimes quite hurtfully and unfairly), so I don't think it's a good basis to rule out jobs anyway. And, finally but most importantly, it'll make you sound churlish and potentially piss off the person you're speaking to (and although those 'any enquiries' things sometimes direct you to HR, they also sometimes direct you to the head of department, who you really don't want to piss off!)

riviera01 · 18/07/2017 08:46

Not read all the replies but I have in the past gone to serious expense going for public sector jobs. I was very well qualified and applied for 6 similar roles in 6 different cities . I'm going back 20 years maybe . I got called for 4 interviews. They were staged about couple of days apart . I would have loved the job in any of the cities. So off I went to interview number 1 . It was a panel interview so 2 from the district and 1 extra man. Interview went well . However at the end I don't really know how it came up but they mentioned the person currently filling the role . I said oh it's a wonder you did not promote within . And one of them blurred out oh we will but we have to go through the motions . I couldn't believe it . But this was 20 years ago and very different to now .

Anyway another week later I thought I would try the next interview . This one I had to fly too so more expense . Walked into interview to find the exact same man from first interview on the panel . I sucked it up did interview . Couple of days later I got a letter saying no not successful .

I phoned and eventually got chatting to the man and said look here I am travelling at expense to these interviews . I need you to tell me if I am wasting my time. He would not give me an answer . I told him not to bother expecting me at the other 2 interviews . I was gutted but it was the way it was back then .

It sounds like not much as changed really .

GirlOnATrainToShite · 18/07/2017 09:31

I feel very sorry for people who are unemployed and have to do this - after filling out 3000 criteria on an application form.

OP posts:
MiddleEnglandLives · 18/07/2017 09:50

I think it's worse in certain areas of the country than others. The north seems bad for it, big cities less so.


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frieda909 · 18/07/2017 12:01

Like others, I've experienced this particularly badly in academia. I went for a funded PhD, and the application for that was soooo full on. Weeks of research, thousands of words written in my research proposal, glowing references obtained from past tutors, travelled for hours to get there... and then the interview barely lasted 10 minutes and I got the distinct impression they were 'phoning it in'. Sure enough, the very next day some student who'd already been studying with the supervisor was blabbing all over social media that he'd got the post. Before they'd even got around to telling me I hadn't got it Sad

So much effort and it was clear the second I walked in that I was just there to tick a box Angry

blueshoes · 18/07/2017 12:33

Private sector. An internal candidate does not always have the advantage. As another poster says, we know their HR record and may even have experience working with them. Depends on why they want to move departments.

Often, we hire because it is a skill or experience we cannot get internally. The market moves and develops so quickly that we have to import the skills from a competitor.

Godstopper · 18/07/2017 13:13

Internal appointments are the norm for initial teaching posts.

My uni has something called "direct appointments" whereby people can be appointed for up to a year if the dept. know who they want. That's how I landed teaching following my PhD. It saves going through a recruitment process for a fixed-term job. However, my dept. have had to advertise the next round of teaching fellowships as people like me simply can't be reappointed. I won't be applying for one of them, but I'm pretty sure two or three internals I know will be. I hope the process is fair.

All of the teaching fellowships I've applied for have gone to internal candidates too. I've just been rejected from one in an area I teach and strongly suspect that of also going to an internal. It's the norm. Horrible and dispiriting, but not unusual. At least directly appointing saves the pretence of a job search.

I don't know about lecturing posts. But it's definitely common lower down.

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